Technology

Bezos, crew blast off on Blue Origin rocket in flight to space

Jeff Bezos blasted off for an 11-minute journey on his company’s rocket, furthering a push to make space tourism viable and fulfilling a childhood dream to discover the heavens.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket soared into the skies over a West Texas launchpad at about 8:12 a.m. native time Tuesday, carrying the world’s richest man, his brother and two others. It’s the primary flight with folks on board for Blue Origin, which Bezos based in 2000 with a imaginative and prescient of a future in which hundreds of thousands of individuals will in the future stay and work in space. The New Shepherd had beforehand flown 15 occasions with out a crew.


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At an altitude of 47 miles (76 km), a 10-foot-tall capsule with giant home windows and reclining leather-based seats will detach from the booster and ascend past the Karman line 62 miles above the Earth, the place the passengers expertise a couple of minutes of weightlessness and unforgettable views. They then strap again in and freefall towards the desert floor with six parachutes. Just earlier than landing, a retro thruster slows the descent for a mushy touchdown.

Blue Origin constructed suspense across the flight with a well-publicised public sale. An nameless bidder provided $28 million to fly alongside Bezos, however what Blue Origin described as a timing battle left a gap for Oliver Daemen, the 18-year-old son of a Dutch financier. Also on board: Bezos’s brother Mark, 53, and Wally Funk, 82, a former astronaut trainee. Funk would be the oldest particular person to journey to space and Daemen the youngest.

The suborbital journey started 9 days after billionaire Richard Branson demonstrated his rival company’s capabilities by boarding a Virgin Galactic vessel and taking the same flight to a decrease altitude of 53.5 miles, the place passengers additionally skilled weightlessness. Both corporations need to promote space pleasure rides to rich vacationers. Highly publicized excursions by their billionaire founders function a vote of confidence in the protection of such journeys.

Bezos, 57, mentioned he’s deliberate on touring to space since he was 5 years outdated. He began Amazon.com Inc. as a web-based guide business from his Seattle storage in 1994 and turned it into the world’s largest on-line retailer, making him the wealthiest man on the planet with a internet price exceeding $200 billion, in accordance to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He’s been promoting Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin, which is predicated in Kent, Washington, now has 3 500 staff and in addition builds rocket engines used to launch satellites. Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO earlier this month to grow to be government chairman of the e-commerce large.

Branson’s flight earlier this month stole some thunder from Bezos’ launch and prompted social-media jousting. Blue Origin dissed the Virgin Galactic flight in a July 9 tweet, calling it a “high altitude airplane” with puny home windows. Blue Origin says it has the largest home windows in space. On Monday, Virgin Galactic on Twitter wished the Blue Origin staff a “successful and safe flight.”

Despite the struggle for space tourism buzz, the last word purpose is to make such journeys routine on rockets which are reused like airplanes. The New Shepard booster will return to a touchdown pad so it may be reused moderately than breaking up in the ambiance. Reusable rockets are key to decreasing the price of space journey, which may make it extra accessible. Blue Origin hasn’t disclosed the anticipated value of future space journeys or the quantity paid by {the teenager}.

© 2021 Bloomberg


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